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Do I Really Need… A Professional?

As a car nut, I usually try to do my own repairs on my classics. Recently, after having problems with my 1981 Jeep, I finally brought it to a mechanic to look at since I was unsuccessful in getting it started. Lo and behold, they diagnosed the problem, fixed it, and sent me on my way. My ego said "I knew that" but my hands failed to solve the problem.

I have always said and teach my clients that other than your family of course, the four most important people in your life are your doctor, accountant, lawyer and Certified Financial Planner®. Think about it. The last time you had a toothache, did you tie a string to your tooth, attach it to a doorknob and slam the door? Did you go to WebMD to diagnose your latest ailment, or apply a do-it-yourself cast when you fell down the step and your foot looked like the football just kicked for extra points? I would like to think not, but you'd be surprised how many times we tackle a project way out of our field of expertise or without sufficient knowledge to accomplish the task. Think about what you do for a living for example- as automatic as you may go through your day, it's because you are skilled in the area you are in and after learning it, doing it and practicing it for years and years, it may come easy to you but for others, it seems like a myriad of complicated moves to accomplish what you deem to be easy and automatic. I'm guessing that if you had a "Take Your Neal to Work Day" I'd probably be lost, having not a clue as to what you do, but being relatively sure you know your job inside and out. I do what I do, and you do what you do. Easy-Peezy...

The tax laws are thousands of pages of complicated gobbledegook (is that a word?) that the current administration proposed to us to change to a one pager- not exactly that easy, but shows how complicated the rules really are. While I have no intention to get into a discussion of the state of our political system, that fact is that your CPA spent years to learn the current laws, and goes to continuing education to keep up on the latest laws and news to find you the best way to do your taxes within the confines of the current tax laws. The same with your doctor, or lawyer- years and years of education, and hours and hours of continuing education to be the best they can be at their field. There really is a difference between consulting with a tax and estate lawyer than going on line and doing a stock will- everybody's different, and everybody has a different set of circumstances. And then, there's your "financial guy... "

Financial Guys and Ladies come in all shapes and sizes, and specialize in all different areas of the financial world. Some buy and sell financial instruments you use for your IRA, 401(k), investment accounts or other plans to help you plan for the future or achieve a goal like college planning, buying a second home, or anything your heart desires. Think about your 401(k) for example- how did you decide on the combination of investment vehicles you are presently invested in? More-so... when was the last time you reviewed it or made changes based on changes in the economy or world events. Do you understand the markets, and that someone sneezing or making a statement on the other side of the world can have an effect on the daily value of your investment portfolio? If you are working with a Certified Financial Planner® who has been skilled in a myriad of issues pertaining to helping you in your financial and estate planning issues, their job is to bring to you the issues, problems, circumstances, differences, examples, pitfalls, and the like from their years of working with people just like you. I like to think that I don't know it all, but after talking with thousands of people, I've seen a lot. The same with your other professionals- there's nothing like working with someone who's been around the block one or twice... or a thousand times. In any field, time, education and tenure does not insure accuracy or a better overall result, but in my book, in any field or in life in general, the one thing you can't replace is time... but I think that's something you already know...

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